OMG-does-he-like-me-filter: help, I've fallen for my housemate! I have two requests for you, MeFites: 1) Please read my [long] story and tell me if I'm totally kidding myself about this situation; and/or 2) Tell me your own story about the time you fell for your roommate, housemate, or close friend.
Disclaimers and apologies:
• All this dancing around and should-I-shouldn't-I is annoying and embarrassing and makes me feel like I'm 13.
• I realize this post is very long.
• Apologies for posting anonymously, but my username would give me away immediately if the person in question were to read this.
So, here’s my story. I’ve slept with a friend of mine, several times now. I'm 27, he's 25. We live in the same house but separate apartments (he has roommates, I do not). We spend all of our free time together. If we weren’t sleeping together I’d say we’re very close friends, but obviously you include sex in the situation and you’re not really friends anymore.
I like this guy a lot, and if he feels the same way I would like to attempt a relationship with him, despite the obvious hurdles there would be considering that we live in the same house. The trouble is that I’m having a really hard time gauging his interest. Maybe I’m just kidding myself, but I think he does have feelings for me, on some level. I worry that I'm being too cautious and self-censoring, and it comes across like I don't have feelings for him, so he's doing the same thing. Clearly I need to talk to him, and I will. But before I do, I’m interested to see what the hive mind thinks. Allow me to elaborate on the situation a bit...
When we first hooked up, I was thrilled because I really liked him. I would go upstairs and hang out with him in his apartment, uninvited, and basically follow him around like a pathetic puppy dog, which is pretty typical of me. Very soon – like after a week – he started to back off. I called him on it, and he said he liked me but he didn’t think he wanted a relationship with me. He said he needs space in a relationship, and when he doesn’t get it he starts treating his girlfriend badly, and he didn’t want to do that with me. I was very sad but I respected his position and backed off.
Eventually, things seemed to have settled and we started hanging out again. Of course we slept together again. It’s happened maybe a dozen times over the last five months, maybe more, I’ve lost count. It always takes the same pattern, over 2-4 weeks:
Flirt > flirt heavily > flirt even more heavily > spend every waking second together > sleep together (usually sober, fwiw) > spend the night in his arms > hang out the next day, pretend nothing happened, and start all over again.
Believe me, I realize how dysfunctional this is.
Every time we do sleep together, an ever-smaller part of me holds out hope that maybe this time something will actually come of it. But, because he rejected me before, I try to back off and wait for him to seek me out, and take my cues from how he acts. I always assume that he wants to avoid me, but there he is the next day, standing at my door. He’ll come downstairs and spend the whole evening with me, always of his own volition, but he’s hard to read. He’ll stand in my kitchen while I do dishes and cook dinner, and he plays with my dog, and he talks to me and tells me about his day, and when he runs out of things to say he stands around like he doesn’t want to leave; but when we move to the couch to watch TV we sit at opposite ends. There’s no physical contact at all. At the end of the night he says goodnight and goes back upstairs. This has happened so many times now that I’m kind of numb to it so it doesn’t upset me anymore, but it does make me sad.
What I can’t figure out is, does he spend all this time with me because his feelings have changed vis-à-vis the whole relationship thing, but he thinks I’m not interested because I’m not making a move? Or is he just being clueless? I mean, seriously, we spend ALL of our time together, and he seems to be doing it willingly. We are essentially a couple who sleeps together sporadically. (Christ this is so dysfunctional.) So why doesn’t he need his space now? Is it a control thing – like if I were initiating it he’d pull back, but since he initiates it he’s ok with it? If so, that’s seriously annoying.
I’ve never had many male friends, so I don’t have a good frame of reference and I may be way off base here, BUT: I feel like if he really didn’t have any feelings for me, he would avoid me like the plague after he slept with me, to avoid giving me the wrong idea. I’ve even heard him give that advice to others when his roommates and I are talking about girls and relationships and sex and all that. I know him to be a conscientious and observant person, particularly for a guy, so I’m inclined to think he’s not just being clueless. Am I totally kidding myself here? Am I reading way too much into this?
Or, perhaps he does have feelings for me but he’s conflicted due to his “space” issue. Is it worth trying to convince him that I get it, and I think we could still make it work? Usually I would say that you shouldn’t have to convince someone to want a relationship with you, but maybe this situation is the one exception to that rule. (I’m sure you guys are going to rip me apart for thinking that there are ever exceptions to the relationship commandments, several of which I know I’m trying to break here.)
Or, on the off-chance that The Hive thinks he actually might feel the same way I do... I think I’m being pretty obvious about the fact that I have real feelings for him, but that may not be the case, especially since I’m so afraid of scaring him off. Should I be more forward? Should I cuddle up with him the next time we watch TV together? Even if it’s been almost a week since we last touched each other – or would that be too out-of-the-blue?
I’m terrified of the devastating embarrassment I’d feel if I tried a move like that, and he recoiled and told me I’ve got the wrong idea, or he just froze and acted really uncomfortable. But I also know that I can’t keep on with things as they are. So either I try something like that, or I be more blunt and tell him how I feel and ask him to do the same, or I just drop the whole idea and start avoiding him as much as possible so I can get over him. But I don’t think I’ll ever be able to move on if I think there’s a possibility something could happen.
MeFi, I want to hear your stories about the time you fell for your housemate or roommate or best friend, and what you did about it, and how it ended up. You can give me advice if you like, or just talk. If you think I'm being an idiot, tell me. If you think there's a chance here, tell me. Do your worst! Throwaway email: email@example.com